Building our Nation's Resilience: Towards a Five-Year Prediction of Climate

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Thursday, 8 January 2015: 9:00 AM
221A-C (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Fiona Horsfall, NOAA/NWS, Silver Spring, MD; and M. Timofeyeva and R. G. Jonassen

With increased awareness of our changing climate and its impacts, an increasing number of groups are legally required to prepare for future scenarios that are unlike the average of the past decades. In addition, decision makers are seeking information beyond the current operational product suite, which currently provide forecasts of temperature and precipitation out to 13 months, to aid in planning in areas such as national security, emergency management, water management, agriculture, energy, infrastructure, recreation, and tourism to name a few. In the absence of an official forecast, the range of possible climate scenarios that these groups may select for guidance on preparedness and building resilience to changing conditions may lead to inappropriate strategies and inefficient allocation of resources. In building a Weather-Ready Nation, providing actionable information of value as far in advance as possible allows American citizens to better prepare for weather, water, and climate events that will impact safety, health, and economic stability.

NOAA's current seasonal climate forecast of long term mean temperature and total precipitation extends for 13 months using factors such as ENSO, MJO, NAO, PDO, trends, soil moisture and snow anomalies, statistical tools, and CFS as predictors. Although skill in such forecasts is limited, there are multiple reasons to seek to extend forecasts to longer lead times, and in the least, developing official products that could provide insights to climate states on timescales out to five years. In addition, traditional meteorological measures of skill may not reflect the value of the information to customers.

In this paper, we will summarize requirements collected from selected US decision makers on their need for an extended product suite, in particular, on the 2-5 year timescale, and the types of products that would be useful. We will also discuss the levels of skill that would make extended forecast information actionable by stakeholders.